Relationship organisation One Plus One has reported on a new framework (A framework for supporting teenage mothers and young fathers’ published by Public Health England) to help local services review their support for young parents – “Over the last 15 years, the under-18 conception rate in the UK has more than halved, to the lowest level since 1969. This is the result of a long-term evidence-based teenage pregnancy strategy, delivered with concerted effort by local government and their health partners.” They go on to say that further progress is needed to sustain these achievements and improve the outcomes for young parents and their children. “Like all parents, teenage mothers and young fathers want to do the best for their children and some manage very well; but for many their health, education and economic outcomes remain disproportionately poor which affects the life chances for them and the next generation of children.” The framework gives suggestions for tailoring services to meet their needs, and a number of helpful resources for those working with these parents.
2 in 3 teenage mothers experience relationship breakdown (compared to 1 in 10 older mothers). Do they know about child contact centres?
The following sections of the framework may be relevant to NACCC accredited child contact centres:
- Voluntary and community services have a key role – specific advice (page 27)
- Young fathers are often vulnerable – make services welcoming and father friendly (page 28)
- Parenting support – the biggest single factor affecting children’s well being & development (page 29)4. Safeguarding – both parents and children (page 33/34)
The framework suggests that local centres could raise awareness with pregnant mothers/young parents:
Contact your local school nurse(s) – the framework suggests that the school nurse is the expert in advising teenagers on strong relationships. Why not send them your details? They might be a useful contact to signpost local teenage parents about your service.
Keep your local Children’s Centres up to date – many child contact centres already have close links with children’s centres and workers there are aware of their services.
Contact your local youth support worker(s) – youth support workers’ voluntary relationship with young people gives them an important role in supporting pregnant teenagers and young parents, both within their own service and in partnership with other agencies. They could help to signpost parents to your service.
“The centre helps with the stress because we’re not arguing and it’s easier for my daughter”
BBC Wales covered a story a couple of years ago with case study Nathaniel Phillips from Rhydfelen who was 19 years old at the time. He came to a contact centre every week to see his five year old daugther. “I was 14 when I had her and access stopped about six months later because we split up,” he said. “[The staff] come in and help and check if everything is all right regularly. We play with colour and play with games and it helps with the stress because we’re not around her mother and we’re not arguing and it’s easier for my daughter. [Child contact centres are] really important for people in my situation to have contact with their children.”
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